Kicking MS to the Curb steps out of the box of multiple sclerosis with determination and humor. The MS journey brings challenges and concerns, stumbles and successes, triumphs and trouncings. We celebrate races run and battles won. And we stumble, reel and rise to try again.
Throughout, the orange thread traces our dogged determination to continue placing one foot in front of the other for as long as possible - until we win, until healing comes, or until the medical miracle is found.
Living with M.S.
"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become. Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)
Hacking my way back against the MS MonSter
Spring allergy season and the warm-weather cold season are
raging, and multiple sclerosis warriors are slugging it out against extra
symptoms. Some face added frustrations, as any illness can make living with MS
For me, it started with seasonal allergies. Heck, I never
even had seasonal allergies till my mid-30s. Now they are a pretty predictable
harbinger of spring.
Warm winds blew, as I planted my garden and patio pots with
bright spring flowers. Dust and pollen whirled (most unseen) around me, while I
trotted my dog out for daily jaunts in quiet neighborhoods and woodsy trails.
Then the sneezing started. We’re not talking about a few dainty
little sniffles. These were non-stop manly snorts that took my breath away and
could have cleared crowded amphitheaters.
Before long, simple allergies led to head congestion,
followed by sinusitis and then a full-blown sinus infection. Meanwhile, fluid
began building up in my lungs, leaving me wheezing and coughing like a sick
dinosaur. At night, I gasped in my bed, with a rattling rale that sounded like
someone was moving heavy equipment inside my chest walls.
Breathing difficulties exacerbated the nearly ever-present
MS vertigo too.
This is not exactly
the spring picnic I had hoped for, I groaned to myself.
Yada. Yada. You know
MS complicates everything. In a flash, the dreaded MS hug
wrapped around my torso. I couldn’t catch a breath – or a break.
Like any experienced MSer, I know we face an increased risk
of contracting pneumonia. And the stark reality is clear: People don’t die of
MS. But they can die of complications of MS. And the primary culprit is often
“Get thee to a doctor,” is the perennial refrain.
Finally, I did.
At the clinic, they diagnosed me with a sinus infection and
bronchitis. They gave me a boatload of prescriptions, including antibiotics and
a powerhouse antihistamine/decongestant and an inhaler.
Oh, and pretty clear
instructions to slow down for a while.
Mostly, this is all helping. I get that it’s gonna take some
time. I’m still overdoing it (in terms of personal exertion), nearly daily, and paying a price for that.
Like any medications, these drugs have a few side effects I don’t
like. And the antibiotic pills are ginormous and hard to swallow, especially
with the MS gag reflex in full attack mode.
But I am grateful to have the prescription treatments. In
days gone by (like before antibiotics), basically healthy people used to die from these sorts of
illnesses. Now those conditions may just lay us up for a week or so. Sure, I
know it will take a little longer to come back to full speed (just because the
MS MonSter lurks for times when we are compromised like this).
I’m still hacking with a chest-racking cough. I’m still
sneezing non-stop. I’m still going through tissue boxes like they are going out
of style. I still run out of steam far faster than usual.